Planning For A Great New Year


How To Plan The Best New Year Ever

I’ve always been one of those people who is totally invigorated by the idea of the ~new year~ even though I know I can start anew any day. I always DO get super pumped about the beginning of a new month or a new week or a new season also. There’s just something about it for me that gets me mentally focused on all my goals and things I want to accomplish.

planners for 2018

I’ve done everything — from the typical New Year’s Resolutions, New Year’s intentions, one word resolution that defines the rest of my year, monthly resolutions. EVERYTHING. I’ve done it all. I have mild success most of the time at keeping the long-term resolutions but I do pretty well breaking it down.

planning for the best new year

Last year was the first year in a loooooong time I haven’t done anything New Year related. I was in my first trimester and this was pretty much my thoughts on the new year:

how to have the best new year yet

Which obviously was exactly where I was at with being pregnant til July and then having a baby. My whole life has been rolling with it and improvising in 2017. The first time I followed a resolution 10000%. SUCCESS IS MINE.

Anyways, here we are, a month out from 2018 and I’m ready to start planning to make 2018 my year. Like the best year. (I have to start planning now because literally everything takes so much longer with a baby). I have some lofty goals and things I want to accomplish this year while also enjoying this little babe of mine. I want to kick some ass and set a good example for Riley.

I don’t know that I’m going to share my goals/resolutions this year (to be decided; and also I want some time to really lay them out and define them) but I thought it might be fun to share how I’m planning for the new year and I would love to know your plans!




The Planner

THIS IS WHERE IT ALL STARTS FOR ME. The past couple years I’ve actually embraced a planner and it’s been life-changing. I’ve always considered myself a go-with-the-flow person so I thought I didn’t need a planner but I’ve realized that I was hindering myself because I NEED to be a person with a planner in order to get stuff done and really be organized. I’m sure not everyone needs it but I was totally wrong about it for me and it definitely revolutionized my life.

And, especially now, having a baby and very limited time (and brain space it seems)…I need to be on top of my shit.

My Day Designer from this year


Anyways, for the past couple years I have been getting the Day Designer at Target (I’m a paper planner girl through and through..I need to write it down) and it works for me but this year I’m contemplating getting a different planner just to spice things up. I think I normally just stick to the same one because all the planner stuff intimidates me and there are like some really super popular ones that people are very enthusiastic about and I never know which one to pick. Here are some of the planners I’m looking at currently at (I’d love feedback if you’ve used one of these!):

erin condren planner

Erin Condren Life Planner
(sooo many people I know are very enthusiastic about these)

2018 do it all plannerOrange Circle Studio Do It All Planner


2018 best year ever planner

Bloom 2018 Planner no bad days 2018 planner

Bando No Bad Days


Cactus Planner

Daily Planner Journal UO

simplified planner emily ley

Emily Ley Simplified Planner


planner to track productivity

Productivity Planner
( This would probably be in ADDITION to a regular planner but I’m really digging this format to track my tasks or maybe I could kind of take the basics of this and put it in my bullet journal)



The Books


This year I decided I would, in addition to all my other reading goals for the year, read a “personal development”  sort of book each month for different areas of my life that will hopefully help me with kicking ass, achieving my goals and making changes in my life.

books to inspire new years resolutions

Here are the books I’m considering (please let me know in the comments if you recommend any of these because I need to narrow it down to 12!!!):

personal development books for the new year



Books I recommend if you are looking for ~personal development~ type books:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Miracle Morning

Journal-y Type Things/Writing Prompts

I want to journal again! I was thinking about how much blogging and being able to put “pen to paper” helps me so much and I’d like to start writing again in a journal type way outside of blogging.

I was looking at a couple of things that could possible be fun, outside of just writing in a journal because sometimes I struggle with what to write and a prompt could help.


Create Your Life Plan Journal: seems like an interesting way to journal and explore your passions and ~life purpose~ with different sorts of thought-provoking questions and exercises.


52 Lists Project — weekly journal prompts/list-making (which you KNOW I LOVE)

52 Lists To Happiness — Similar concept as above but about cultivating happiness and joy


99 Ideas Journal


88 Mindful Moments journal
(I like the idea of this one because I do want to work on being more mindful and ~in the moment~)


I also want to start my bullet journal again to really track my habits. I like having a separate planner and then a bullet journal to track habits and make lists and use it for reading/blogging stuff.


Step 2: Identify GENERAL Areas In My Life I Want To Work On


Some general areas I know I want to focus on:

Health/Fitness: I haven’t made time at all to workout since having Riley and I REALLY am making this a priority. Before getting pregnant I was doing Blogilates PIIT program and was seeing so much progress/results and most importantly I was feeling AMAZING and strong! It was the first program or challenge sort of thing that I stuck with! I loved how intense the workout was and how it was the perfect length for a workout even with stretching/cool down. I have the first one but she has a really great deal (50% off!!) until December 1st for the programs so I want to get 2.0 & 3. 0. I loved the accountability of the community and I know she’s starting a challenge back up for the new year.

Gratitude: I feel like I am a pretty grateful person but I really want to cultivate gratitude even more. I found this really cute Year of Thanks set and I’m pretty sure I want to get it. I hated when my mom used to make us write thank you notes but now I’m appreciating the gift of a genuine thank you.

Organization: Guyyyys my whole life is a mess. My apartment is chaos (we can hide it all away pretty well) and that’s where I want to start. I want to really get rid of a lot of stuff and set better organizational systems. Every inch of this place will be organized. I also want to organize my computer/digital life. It’s a hot mess.

Simplicity/Living With Less: This is something I really want to explore this year. I don’t know to what extent but definitely trying to seek some inspiration for goals related to this area.

Being Present: This is something I’ve always tried to do (being present, living life to the fullest) but especially after having Riley I realize how often I’m not exactly present — always looking ahead to the next milestone or stage. It really is true that the days are long but the years are short and I just want to put away the distractions and just BE.

Relationships: 2017 was a great year for relationships. I was definitely way more intentional with nurturing the relationships of those around me. Definitely want to continue on.

Career-Shaped Things: I’ve been so lost with my career since getting laid of in 2012 and I stuck with nannying for far longer than I wanted to or dreamed I would because I just didn’t know what I wanted to do anymore and then I just got so content (but also I think I stopped believing in myself after rejections galore while looking for a new job). I’ve enjoyed aspects of it but I’m really ready to move on (and the boys are getting older and will both be in school every day next year so I’m needed less). This is priority number 1 honestly. I need to figure my shit out.

Money: Will and I have never been super strict with a budget. We just kind of wing it and know about what we can spend and not spend. We live pretty modestly but do buy ~fun things~ but having a baby has made us realize that we NEED a better plan. We need to create a budget & we NEED to be better at saving.


So right now that’s a rough draft of my general areas I want to work on. I might try to combine some if I can but I’m happy with those for right now.


Step 3: Have a brainstorm session for each general area to help me come up with specifics


I haven’t gone through this part yet obviously even though the general areas have been percolating in my head for a while now but I am just going to sit down with a notebook and list each area on a page and just write down any little thing that comes to mind. I’ll mull over my brain dump and see what I can come up with…what sticks out.


Step 4: Make 1-3 actionable goals for each section

From all that brain dump hopefully I will be able to come up with a specific goal — I typically use the SMART goals method that I learned in college but I’ll see if there’s another goal-writing idea I like better. I saved this last year and am super intrigued by this method. So we shall see!


Step 5: Come up with smaller goals for each month

Goals on goals on goals. Now that I have one goal for each area in my life, I can use my brain dump to also come up with goals that I can focus on monthly (and then obviously weekly if I want).  I think that makes it much less daunting.

So, for example, let’s take organization. Maybe my goal is to “Organize my space.” I might brain dump all the big problem areas I want to organize, note any organization methods I might want to try, any organizing tips, etc. Then I might make my goal for January to organize my bookshelves — all of my organization efforts will be towards my bookshelves and then I can (when I’m in that particular month) can break it down to individual weekly steps which helps my brain. That way my big resolutions don’t seem too daunting because weekly it might be like “weed out books from 1 shelf” or “donate books this week” or “figure out how I want to organize my books.” Every week they won’t be HUGE daunting goals but really manageable things.


Step 6: Go forth into 2018 and create my best life (insert whatever other buzzy buzzword)

No but really..I really want to set myself up to succeed and after thinking how I might do that…this is what I came up with that I think will work for me. I haven’t even really delved into my planning yet and I’m already excited. I’m tired of just being okay with half-assed attempts at my goals or just shoving aside the things I want or just being sort of content.  I’ve got so many ideas running through my head.


SO..what about you….? Do you plan for the new year? What are your goals/resolutions for this coming year? Any tips or thoughts on my plan?? Let’s talk kicking some 2018 booty!


P.S. Check out my plan to make winter suck less if you are like me and loathe winter!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. This post is honestly what I need to read today! I need to start planning for 2018 stat! I actually realized earlier this week I had yet to buy a planner for 2018 *hangs head in shame* I am also a paper planner girl through and through but am intimidated by anything that has to do with stickers. As for the books, I didn’t love You Are a Badass but I know people that did so you’re mileage may vary. I think also you can drop either Love Your Life Not Theirs or The Total Money Makeover since Rachel Cruz and Dave Ramsay are daughter- father and give really similar advice imo. I feel you on career shaped things- I have no idea what I’m doing career-wise or even what I want to do. You have an amazing attack plan set up and I bet you are going to kick some ass in 2018 🙂

  2. I love the idea of reading one “personal development” book a month! I may have to add that to my goals.
    I’m a teacher, and we had to read Creative Confidence for summer reading one year. It was… suppppperrrrr repetitive. In theory, a great idea. We are all about creativity in our school. But the book was lackluster, at best. You can read the first chapter and be fine.
    I would recommend Mindset by Carol Dweck. It’s all about growth mindset and being ok with failing, which I needed to hear over and over. Each chapter discussed a different element of your life (or different industry) that growth mindset could apply to, and I really actually enjoyed the scenarios presented.
    Good luck with your goals!

  3. I really love the weekly planners from Moleskine. I like listing goals for a whole week rather than each day, because more often than not shit comes up during the day that you didn’t expect and your day just doesn’t go as planned! I work at a library and every day is weird and different, so it just works so much better for me to think slightly longer term.

  4. I’ve been planning my reading goals but nothing else in my life. I mean I want to lose weight again but I also know that getting of my anti-depressant meds is my first goal. But I can’t plan that ahead of time. I just have to see how that goes so I am just hiding from planning actual things in our life like money too. Trying not to deal with the responsibility of 2018 in 2017. Oops.

    I love how organized you are though.

  5. I’ve tried quite a few of these planners and they’re all great in different ways! I went with the Plum Paper planner this year because it is SUPER customizable and has the same size and quality as an Erin Condren (but like $20 cheaper).

  6. Thanks for sharing more about how you’re organizing your upcoming year and what books are on your TBR for the 2018. I love the idea about journaling. I frequently write in my journal and I find it comforting. I want to learn how to do some calligraphy soon.

    I recently got engaged and my fiance and I are not sure if the wedding is happening fall 2018 or fall 2019 so we definitely need to get going on the planning. I want to focus on self-care for myself because I feel like I don’t take lunch breaks at work when I need to. Sometimes I need to sit back and relax and let other people help me out as well.

  7. I don’t do resolutions because I never follow them. I do set goals for myself though and follow time lines. 2018 is the year of the dissertation. If I want to gratuate June 2019, I have to write and defend my proposal by September. I’ll be drafting my timeline in my bullet journal. It helps that my EVP got her doctorate from and adjuncts at the university. She told me lovingly that she’ll “have my ass” if it’s done.

  8. I’ve read Finish by Jon Acuff and I would definitely recommend it! Funny but practical!

  9. I love this post! Totally what I needed to help me plan out my 2018.
    I have a Ban.Do planner myself, one of the large ones. I LOVE it but I don’t use it as much as I should, hopefully I can change that in the new year. It’s a little expensive but I love how colorful it is and it has little messages of positivity throughout which is something that helps keep me motivated!

  10. I love these journals/writing prompts. I’ve been so slack this year in my gratitude journal, but I think the 52 lists journals would be good to get for my sister and myself; it’s something we could do together, and we’re both always looking for ways to focus on positivity. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I am so terrible at planning anything but I am going to make an attempt to be more organised and actually plan things in 2018 instead of just winging everything like I usually do. I’ve been looking for planners to use and it’s easy enough for me to get one, but I always end up forgetting that I have one.

  12. I love this post so much! I’m a sucker for planners and organisation, and here I am at 10 pm on a Friday night, in bed, reading your post and eager to get out of bed and start planning myself (time to rest, Elena please. THANK YOU). I wish you the best with your planning and with all the going with the flow that we must learn so plans do really work. Happy last month of 2017, Jamie!

  13. We are on the same wave length. I just purchased the Living Well Planner ($60!), but I’m hoping to have a one stop-shop for keeping my calendar, budget, lists, and more. I used online apps to organize my life this past year. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t me. Looking forward to doing the pen and paper route again. Good luck on your planning!

  14. I was JUST thinking about how I need to get my shit together next year. I literally had 2 goals this year and failed at both of them. And do you know what they were? 1. Get another tattoo; and 2. Learn to put my hair up in a way that’s not a ponytail. Like, I should have been able to do those things within a week, and I couldn’t manage them all year. They’re terrible goals too. (I blame Trump for my year going off the rails.) Your post has given me some great ideas! Especially just your method of sitting down and figuring out areas of life that need improvement, brainstorming, and coming up with action items. I need to do that!

    I also want to read more books about personal development. The only one on your list that I’ve read is 10% Happier, which I loved and I do meditate regularly now. I keep trying to get myself to write in a journal (I’ve also read Miracle Morning and that’s part of that whole deal, which I’ve been really failing at) so maybe one with prompts would help. I have a question though – how do you use both a planner and a bullet journal? Do you use each one for a different purpose?

    • Haha I feel you..I’ve given my self “easy” goals and fail lol. But I think they are totally awesome goals given what we knew 2017 would be like. I hope you are able to plan and take action on goals in 2018! I’m determined too!

      OH i meant to talk about that! SO I know people like to do their monthly/weekly type spreads in the bullet journal but I just found I preferred my planner for all that and I just use my bujo for other stuff — lots of lists and habit tracking type stuff.

  15. I’m in a similar place with New Year’s planning. I’m also looking for a planner this year, so I’ll be interested to see what you pick. For self-help, I highly recommend Better Than Before, especially since you also enjoyed The Happiness Project. The Art of Asking was an interesting memoir, but not especially actionable.

  16. I highly recommend Getting Things Done, although be prepared to take notes and reread, there is a LOT in there. Also, you can’t go wrong with Brene Brown.

    • Thank you! Good to know..I was planning on getting it from the library but thinking that maybe it’s one I should buy so I can take my time with the note-taking! Because I am a note-taker for sure!!

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